Fig and Ginger Jam is a warm, sensual eating experience. But I wouldn’t have said it was an aphrodisiac and definitely not an accidental love potion. Well, not until I did a little research into the symbolism of the ingredients.
According to which text you read, figs (Ficus carica) are a powerful symbol of either female or male fertility. According to Barbara Walker (1983) in “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”, the leaves of the fig tree resemble a yoni (female genital organs). Her research shows strong associations with the goddess Ishtar. On the other hand, Scott Cunningham (1998), in his own ” Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”, is very firm that the fig tree is masculine and associated with Dionysus.
Jack Tresidder’s (2000) “Symbols and Their Meanings” notes that actually, it’s just a very sexual tree linked to a variety of fertility gods, male and female. It is also a sacred plant that covered up Adam and Eve’s assets when they became naked (self-aware) after eating from the tree of knowledge and also provided the shade under which Buddha achieved awareness and enlightenment.
Look, have you seen a fig tree? If you look at the soft, heart shape of its leaves, the bulbous shape of the figs and have experienced milky fig juice running down your hand, it’s hard NOT to have any association with fertility. I find it interesting that figs are not technically ‘fruit’ they are a receptacle for unfertilised flowers. Have a read of the following Wikipedia entry which explains that figs are unisexual.
The fig fruit develops as a hollow, fleshy structure called the syconium that is lined internally with numerous unisexual flowers. The tiny flowers bloom inside this cup-like structure. Although commonly called a fruit, the syconium is botanically an infructescence, a type of multiple fruit. The small fig flowers and later small single-seeded (true) fruits line its interior surface. A small opening or ostiole, visible on the middle of the fruit, is a narrow passage that allows the specialized fig wasp, Blastophaga psenes, to enter the inflorescence and pollinate the flowers, after which each fertilized ovule (one per flower, in its ovary) develops into a seed.Fig-Wikipedia
Now my recipe also contains ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. If you research those spices, you’ll see they’re associated with love, lust, power, magic and ritual. I didn’t include them for that purpose. I didn’t consciously set out to make a love jam. It’s just they work so well together and create a warm, spicy jam that makes you want to curl up with a dollop on top of ice cream while you watch the shower scene in Sex/Life again. Read on if you want to learn how to make Fig and Ginger Jam (and I bet you do).
So here’s what you do
- 1 kg Figs
- 5oo gms sugar
- 1 lemon (juiced, and if you wish, very lightly grated)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cardomon
- 1/4 teaspoon cinammon or a couple of small cinammon quills
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Yes everything. And then cover it up and leave it at room temperature overnight. You want the mixture to be quite wet and succulent before you start to warm it up.
The next day
- Prepare your preserving jars – ensuring they are sterilised through a heating process (not just washed!). See the instructions on my Mindful Tomato Relish Making recipe, or check out my other jam recipes for more detailed tips on sterilisation. I prefer oven heating or will use a microwave at a push.
- Pop everything into your pot. There should be a bit of juice now and the sugar should be well soaked in. Heat it up and cook it on a medium heat until its thick and syrupy. Keep a good eye on it as it can stick to the bottom easily. It’s not something you can walk away from while cooking. So stir regularly while you visualise all the loving, lustful, fertile and successful things you want to bring into your life.
- Once the mixture is thick you can spoon it into your sterilised jars, pop on the top and there you have it. It is ready to eat immediately and can be used in many ways including as a mixture in muffins and a topping for desserts. Use sparingly, its quite powerful!